New homelessness reduction strategy for Peterborough approved

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A new strategy to reduce homelessness in Peterborough has been approved.

The strategy was given the go ahead at last night's Full Council meeting with only two councillors objecting despite a few criticisms from opposition members.

A rough sleeper in St Peter's Arcade

A rough sleeper in St Peter's Arcade

The report follows a huge spike in the number of homeless people in the city, with a rise of more than 50 per cent from April 2016 to April 2017.

The report containes 10 objectives, including eliminating the use of Travelodge accommodation, creating a "suite of prevention tools" to improve the chances of preventing homelessness, supporting landlords and tenants to overcome landlord/tenant issues which may lead to evictions and exploring the potential of a Social Lettings Agency/Guaranteed Rent Scheme for private landlords.

Cabinet member Cllr Peter Hiller, introducing the report, said it was aimed at helping people facing the "appalling prospect of someone losing their home through no fault of their own, of being denied basic comforts and securities we all here probably take for granted."

He added that the council had "invested hugely" in accommodation and that rising homelessness was a national problem.

Labour colleagues Cllr Matthew Mahabadi and Cllr Richard Ferris both criticised what they claimed was a lack of timescales in the report for action to be achieved and highlighted stories of people in desperate situations.

Former Labour group leader Cllr Ed Murphy said: "The situation in Peterborough is the worst it's ever been," while independent member Cllr Darren Fower said: "I do not find it very inspiring in the slightest."

But council deputy leader Cllr Fitzgerald responded: "We care greatly. We have compassion this side of the chamber as well."

Cabinet member for resources Cllr David Seaton also criticised Cllrs Mahabadi and Ferris by highlighting "five pages of details and actions" in the document.

Cllr Hiller said the local authorities with the worst homelessness crises are Labour controlled. He added "Comrades in glass houses should not throw stones."